Fab Field Week 1

This week I had a start of my university Field module, which I chose to be concentrated on exploring the Fab Lab. Why I chose exactly this project was because I believe that the opportunities provided by the Fab Lab are very innovative and will soon revolutionize the way people see production. It would be honor for me to be informed about its potential and to be capable of navigating all of those machines which could be used in so many light and innovative, even humane and changing ways.

My interest in the area was awaken after I attended a Design Stuff Cardiff talk that gave me a clearer understanding of the potential given by 3d printing. Imagine a future where you have all of your furniture in a single file. You just go on and print it. Or your child prints their missing Lego parts. Or you print parts of your body (joints for example) to match perfectly. We have such a rich material base within the university, isn’t that fascinating? Not being aware of how to use it would be a shame. Personally I am not capable of seeing much in the future of 3d printing because it is such a fresh concept, yet functional, that it is unpredictable – just like the Internet used to be years ago. I believe that there is a lot of potential behind the opportunities provided by FabLab, that, if embedded within the popular culture, could make a crucial change in the world by expanding people’s perception of engineering and consumption, allowing them to take part in it.

Interesting video of a bacteria-powered fabric printed by a 3D bio printer that I came across – http://www.vocativ.com/video/culture/science/this-bacteria-powered-fabric-knows-when-to-cool-you-down/

Our first meeting in the Fab Lab was concentrated on giving a brief definition of what the module will contain and what is expected of us. It was definitely not what I expected as it contains a lot of electronics, and what I thought was just using 3d printers and laser cutters. Even though I do not particularly enjoy electronics, I am glad to find out that the idea behind FabLab is much broader, almost like a philosophy, not just a space full of machines. I will try to light the love for electronics up and allow FabField be a beneficial experience in terms of broadening my skill set and creativity.

The first task is to make a prototype of our final project. After spending hours of research about Fab Labs and other projects that have been completed I feel absolutely confused because I do not know what to do.

8/1/2016 update:
After a long time of hesitation and fear powered by the fact that I do not have sufficient knowledge in the area of electronics and am incapable to think of a final project if I do not know the instruments that I could employ, I have finally decided on a final project and I intend to stick on it.

A few ideas came across my mind when considering what to start as a final project – some of them so imaginative that they are almost impossible to achieve, others so boring that I felt as if I was trying to escape from the difficult task of making a decision.

I thought of inventing “Intelligent curtains” – they would have light sensors and would automatically shut themselves according to the amount of light available. This kind of domestic inventions is something that I like and hate at the same time because they deprive people of the opportunity to complete such simple tasks, that they become dependent on these inventions. We are so spoiled for gadgets that make our everyday lives easier that we become stupid without actually sensing it because it is such a gradual process. I might be old-fashioned, I don’t know. That’s how I feel right now. So I gave up on this idea. I prefer to be involved in the process of deciding how much light I would like to have in my room. 😀

Then I thought of “Happiness hotspot” project, that traces brain activity and has speech detectors, thus finds out your level of happiness. To be accurate it would measure your pulse, your intonation, would recognise the set of words you use(positive/negative ones), and so on. Then it would upload the current state of happiness on to a map using GPS. So the point of all this is that anyone involved could look at the map and detect happiness hotspots in their city/the world and just go there because being surrounded by happy people is a recipe for you being happy yourself. Yeah this project is faaar far beyond my skills set but I like it 😀

And theen I thought about a few more, “Faith reviver” that revives your faith 😀 by giving you positive messages, some kind of interactive clothing/jewellery,  but nothing really stands out and sounds realistic untiiiill…

An interactive book! This would not only be beneficial in terms of learning embedded programming, but also relevant to my Graphic Communication practice. It would have sensors and actuators within it that enable you to have a real time relationship with this “living” book which reacts to your touch, to your breath, to your warmth, to pressure and motion. This idea actually moved me a lot and I am really happy to say it because I couldn’t find sufficient inspiration so far. So that’s it for now, I am off to further upgrade this idea! 🙂

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